CATWEAZLE star Geoffrey Bayldon has died at the age of 93.

The actor also appeared in Worzel Gummidge, Porridge and Casino Royale.

The Catweazle Fan Club said: "It is with great sadness and a very heavy heart, that we have to inform you of the passing of our beloved Geoffrey.

"At the age of 93 and after battling respiratory problems of late, he passed away on the morning of May 10."

It described Bayldon as a 'lovely, witty, talented and generally charming man'.

The news was confirmed by BBC presenter Lizo Mzimba, who tweeted: "Sad news. Actor Geoffrey Bayldon, best known for playing Catweazle and Worzel Gummidge's Crowman has passed away aged 93 his agency has says [sic]."

Bayldon, who was born in Leeds, was a star of children's TV with his iconic roles in the 1970s.

He played eccentric wizard Catweazle in the show of the same name from 1970 until 1971, and he went on to find fame in another children's series.

After joining Worzel Gummidge in 1979, he won a following of young fans for his role as The Crowman, which he played until 1981.

At the beginning of his career, Bayldon served in the RAF before training as an actor at London's famous Old Vic theatre.

He began his rise to stardom in the 1960s, with roles in Sidney Poitier's To Sir With Love and landing the part of Q in the original Casino Royale.

The movie was based on Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel and starred David Niven, but it was not considered an official 007 movie.

He later appeared in the 1979 movie version of hit sitcom Porridge, playing the Governor.

Despite his growing fame, Bayldon is said to have turned down the chance to play Doctor Who twice.

But even though he declined the chance to play the Time Lord in the hit sci-fi series, he still went on to become involved in Doctor Who.

The actor made a guest appearance in The Creature from the Pit (1979), and he played an alternative First Doctor in two audio plays based on the show.

His later work included roles in Rumpole of the Bailey (1987), The Chronicles of Narnia (1989), Waking the Dead (2004), Heartbeat (2004), a number of appearances in Casualty between 1991 and 2006.

Before retiring from acting, he also had parts in New Tricks (2007) and My Family (2010).

Originally published as Most eccentric character on 70s TV dies

News Corp Australia

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